Mission Statement: This blog was created to provide information on getting help for autism in general while focussing on locally available resources for families with newly diagnosed children in Belleville and Quinte area.

Please browse the blog at your leisure. You are welcome to comment on the posts. If you are a parent, an autism consultant, counselor, teacher with information on autism resources available in our area, please email your information to benziesangma@gmail.com. Your information will be added within 24 hours.

Local Autism Support Groups

Parents Engaging Autism Quinte (PEAQ), an autism parent support group, meets once a month on the first Tuesday of the month (no meetings in January, July and August) at Kerry's Place, 189 Victoria Avenue, Belleville at 6:30 to 8 p.m. If you have questions or suggestions for autism topics that are important to you so that we can invite appropriate autism professionals to speak at these meetings. Next PEAQ meeting is on June 5.

Autism parent support group meeting hosted by Mental Health Agency, Trenton and Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC) meeting is on the Second Thursday of the month from 6 to 7:30 p.m. If you have require any further information please contact Marya Peters for more information at 613 392-2811 ext 3953 or email marya.p@trentonmfrc.ca

For info on Community Living Prince Edward County Parent Support group, contact Resource Consultants @ 613 476 6038

Central Hastings Autism Support Group meets in Madoc at the Recreation Centre. Contact Renee O’Hara, Family Resource & Support, 613-966-7413 or Tammy Kavanagh, Family Resource & Support, 613-332-3227

Transition planning for elementary school students with autism

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Making Social Connections

"Can you come to school and help me find a friend to play with, Mom?" asked my son the other day. It was heartwrenching to hear the innocence in his voice asking for help in an area where he will have to sink or swim on his own for most of his life. Staff at school tells me that he seems to be fine when he is with others. He does not mind company around him, they said. He responds when someone comes and asks him about what he is doing. He brings his own toy train with him and pulls and pushes it in the sand. Meanwhile, he is in the midst of intense social and verbal interactions among his peers swilrling all around him at recess. I can just imagine the speed with which those activities and topics of conversation change. While he is still trying to understand the first rule of a game, it's over and the players have moved on to another one. This time it could be a new one, completely made up by the group, with rapidly changing players, as they proceed with the game. How can he keep up with that? How does anyone keep up with that? But they do and they move on. But how does someone with difficulty in understanding expressions, body language, complex language arrangements and ideas that seem unconnected that yet makes sense to others, learn to make those social connections that all human beings need. The most I can do for him at home is to have one of his classmates (I can't really say friends, because they are not, not yet anyway in the truest sense of the word) come over to our home and practice the script on make how to make friends. I imagine it would help immensely if schools take this aspect of the development need of children with autism seriously and actively pursue it by helping them make connections with their peers on school grounds. But that's not going to happen and I can't be there teaching him the steps of making those social advances because that would be against school policy, which then leaves me to my own devices to come up with a plan to help my son make that connection with another individual. I hope one day he will come home and tell me that he would like to go to school the next day because his friend would be waiting to play with him. Ahh, wistful thinking but who knows, it might happen and sooner than later.

In it for the long haul...

I created this blog with my sincere wish that those of you reading this will want to share your own stories, both good and bad, what worked for you and what didn't and together, we can make it easier for the next family beginning their own journey of discovery. By posting what you know, where you have recieved certain services, who you have talked to, whose expertise you trust, how you navigated the school education services and by responding to questions in the discussion thread, know that you have helped a family in need. So, parents, experts in the field, counsellors, teachers and everyone who has any information on resources available, please feel free to post on this blog.